Discovering Brands Rather Than Being Sold To


My mum always said to me, ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. I guess you heard this saying too when growing up. It’s a mother’s way of getting you to stand up for yourself, to go out into the world and to achieve the things you want to achieve.


I soon realised though, like other kids, that you didn’t always get what you asked for. But I totally understand the sentiment. How will anyone know your intentions if you don’t state them?

At Christmas time, or when a birthday was approaching, it made sense to drop those not-so-subtle hints, or if you were a bit more forthright to actually provide the Argos catalogue’s product number for that year’s must-have toy.

This goes in the workplace too. It’s never good practice to assume that a manager will know which direction you want to go in. Your growth aspirations need to be ‘out there’.

So yes, I get it, it’s about being honest with your ambitions and wishes and telling others about them so that they can come to life.

But what about today’s customers?

Today’s customers take a different stance.

Their approach flips the ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ expression on its head. Imagine a brand directly asking a potential customer to do business with them. That ‘block’ button would be activated in no time.

Consumers want to discover brands. To feel empowered to choose.

Reasons why customers don’t like to be sold to

Buying stuff that we want and like is fun, right? And paying for a service that adds value to our lives is enjoyable. So, what’s the problem when a brand approaches you offering just the type of thing you usually go for?

This is why …

  • We get sold to a lot! Thankfully GDPR put a stop to cold calls and emails, but somehow many still get through. Everywhere we turn we see a brand trying to sell to us or provide us with a service. To the customer, this is just noise and it’s really difficult to cut through it to work out who to do business with.

  • Being sold to can feel uncomfortable not to mention pushy. Just who is benefiting from this transaction? It’s hard to say, but it will almost definitely feel like the brand is.

  • Customers are savvy. A brand that turns up unannounced telling them that they have exactly what they need may actually be offering something outstanding and of real value, but when there’s an air of ‘this sounds too good to be true’, the customer probably won’t entertain the idea at all.

  • Pushing something right in front of a customer could leave them feeling like they’re being taken advantage of.

  • It’s annoying.

How to be discovered

This has a lot to do with the ‘mood’ of your customer.

There’ll be times when they’re simply chilling. Relaxing on their sofa allowing their thumb to nonchalantly scroll through their favourite social media platforms. In these mellow moments, customers can be influenced by what they see. Choose your acquisition channels with a strategic mind. Be there with an engaging video if TikTok is their thing or create inspiring imagery if they love having their imagination stimulated.

But when your potential customers are in ‘buy mode’ this is your moment to shine. In this moment, their intention is to make a purchase, or to decide on a service provider. They’ll head to the search bar and type in exactly what they’re looking for.

BE what they’re looking for. Fuel their empowerment.

That first impression

To grab a customer’s attention – and to hold it – that first connection must resonate. You need to showcase what it is that you have that they need, to be the soothing cream that eases their pain points, to have the answers to their questions, to solve their problems, to excite and delight.

Tease them if you have to – curiosity is a wonderful marketing tool.

Encourage them to explore more. Take them on a customer journey that is memorable, encourages engagement, is relevant, sparks emotion, and highlights your values.

Exclusivity

When a customer makes that discovery and makes the first move, they’ll feel like they’re one step away from being a part of an exclusive VIP members only club.

And when they tell their friends and business acquaintances about the brand, they’ll feel like they’re handing out a golden ticket. When a customer feels proud to tell others about you, you’ve nailed it!

Nurturing relationships

That first encounter may be the first of many. No matter where the customer saw you first, no doubt they’ll investigate a bit more.

If they saw you on social media, they’ll head to your website, and vice versa. They’ll want to check out your reviews, your blogs, your other offerings, and more.

And that’s ok, it takes time to build rapport, to gain trust, to build a relationship. This initial spark should be the beginning of a wonderful and loyal relationship between brand and consumer.

Relationship?

Do customers want, or even need, ‘relationships’ with brands? Research has proven that they do. Customers crave to have a connection, quite often a personal one, and they want the brand to make them feel good. When emotions come into the equation, then yes, it is a relationship.

Is your brand discoverable?

It’s not all about what you have to say, it’s how you say it that matters too. And where. The language, the tone, the design, the consistency – they are all key parts of what makes a brand stand out.

Want to discover how we create prominent brands for our clients? Then grab another cuppa and read ‘Good Design is Good Business’.

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